Sunday, August 22, 2010

It is Helpful to Have a Photographer for a Mom





I enter a lot of my high school students' artworks into contests. They get a lot of pleasure and excitement about creating artwork that will (sometimes hopefully) be displayed. And, I've had students talented enough (and fortunate enough in some cases) to have been displayed.

But, for me, there is always a struggle for where you draw your source images for your students. In an ideal world, they would be making all of their source images themselves. Yet, this is not always possible. And, I'll readily admit, I have several students, that -if left to their own devices- would NEVER bring in a source image because they hope to get out of a more difficult project. In fact, I even had to stipulate in my syllabi this year that images on a phone will NEVER be accepted in lieu of homework unless accompanied (on the due date) with a note from a parent. And, even in those circumstances, the student still must procure a printed picture within 24 hours before loss of points.

My issue with source images, is that students have a hard time fully understanding the ramifications of just drawing something someone else took a picture of. In their mind, they drew it, so the composition is now their own. Umm, yet it is truly not. But, this is also how we learn -by reproducing someone else's results.

We all know that this is murky territory for sure, but I REALLY don't want to enter any student artwork into a competition wherein the source image was derived from a commercial source (unless the piece is a collage or pop art etc. etc.). So, yet again, where do we draw our source images?

I like to use royalty free sites. . .Those are good. And, doing searches for free images on Google. But, consider this: at a recent illustrator conference a well-published illustrator pointed out that she can tell what free Google image an illustrator sourced in many cases. This happens, because the Google results for searches are the same for everyone. EW. I definitely don't want to be submitting my own -or my student's- artwork that looks similar to others.

Soooo. I try to include good pictures from my own vacations and travels. Those are good. And, I try to keep my camera with me, to snap up great compositions and/or source images. I have TONS of source images of glass bottles etc. etc. etc. But, some things elude me. I'm an illustrator, and as such, my ability to compose a great photograph is somewhat limited.

This is where my Mom comes in. She is a formally trained professional photographer. She can capture light and shadow and compose an image like nobody I know. She is also in possession of an unbelievable green thumb. Hence, she has some great garden shots. And, she lets me use them. Awesome.

And, when I asked her if I could post some of her photos here, for you to use, she said: "Sure! Do whatever you want to do!" So, I politely ask you to avoid using these for any profit or commercial use, but feel free to use them for student source images. :)

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